Traditional high accuracy touch-trigger probing can now be complemented by high speed, non-contact, profile scanning to give another "dimension" to the three-dimensional Co-ordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs). Some of the features of a specially developed laser scanning probe together with the trade-offs involved in the design of inspection systems that use triangulation are examined. Applications of such a laser probe on CMMs are numerous since high speed scanning allows inspection of many different components and surfaces. For example, car body panels, tyre moulds, aircraft wing skins, turbine blades, wax and clay models, plastics, etc. Other applications include in-process surveillance in manufacturing and food processing, robotics vision and many others. Some of these applications are discussed and practical examples, case studies and experimental results are given with particular reference to use on CMMs. In conclusion, future developments and market trends in high speed non-contact measurement are discussed.